Colgate University

Vice President of Communication (2014-2015)

  • Hamilton, NY
  • 2,900 undergraduate students
  • Founded in 1819
  • Highly selective residential liberal arts institution
  • University spokeswoman
  • Principal advisor to the President, his senior leadership and the Board of Trustees
  • Created a crisis communication program
  • Reorganized the Office of Communications to be more effective with teamwork, content strategy and university-wide collaborations

Challenge

A highly selective residential liberal arts institution located in central New York, Colgate University has just under 3,000 undergraduate students. From 2014-15, the university experienced some of its most tumultuous recent years, with more than 50 public relations issues to manage.

March that concluded with Colgate for All

Solution

Serving as the Vice President of Communication and a member of the senior leadership team reporting directly to President Jeffrey Herbst, I was the principal strategic communications advisor and spokeswoman for the university. I led the development of a comprehensive crisis communication plan and associated documentation and training. Under my direction, a team of 15 worked to elevate Colgate’s reputation by sharing, across all media, stories that focused on the university’s core messaging, strengths, and distinctiveness.

I provided strategic guidance to academic, administrative, and student service departments and programs on a range of campus issues and communication practices, including reputation management, messaging, and visual identity. I was part of the team that developed “Colgate for All,” an extensive action plan authored collaboratively by students and administrators to help put Colgate on the path toward becoming a more inclusive and welcoming campus for all students.

Rachel was a colleague of mine on the senior leadership team at Colgate University; she was VP of Communications while I was Provost/Dean of the Faculty. Rachel was an outstanding collaborator who understood a university’s communications needs. She was a vital member in shaping and sharing Colgate’s strategic planning and timely implementation efforts.

Dr. Douglas A. Hicks

Former Provost and Dean of the Faculty, now Dean at Oxford College, Emory University, Colgate University